Vinyl LP Record
The award for Least Subtle Band Name of the Year goes to 10 Foot Ganja Plant, whose second album (continuing the horticultural theme) is titled Hillside Airstrip. These guys wave the red cape in front of Babylon's face from their home base in upstate New York, and serve double duty as members of America's finest roots reggae band, John Brown's Body. On their own, their sound is, frankly, quite similar to that of John Brown's Body, except that the vocals are a bit richer and the overall sound perhaps a bit less refined. The lyrical themes are what you'd expect: religious admonition ("Jah Will Go On" and the deeply dubwise "Two Bulls"), apocalyptic prophecy ("Long Time Ago"), and herbal odes ("Walkey Walk Tall"). The production is a deliberate attempt to recapture the chaotic warmth of early-'70s reggae, and it succeeds nicely -- there are echoes of Studio One and, especially, Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark throughout this album. Hillside Airstrip may be too dark and trippy for casual fans, but those who enjoy old-school roots reggae will love it.